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Perspective

Summary:
Edward told Bella he had talked with his father and brothers regarding their wedding night. This is my version of that missing moment from between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn and includes what Edward and Bella do to prepare for their first night together as husband and wife.


Notes:


39. Chapter 39

Rating 5/5   Word Count 9222   Review this Chapter

In the car with Charlie, I had pushed all the other voices, both verbal and mental, to the back of my mind. Then, they had been nothing but a buzz. Now, as we walked into the diner to join our group, I was less focused on the one voice and more open to my surroundings.

Locating the group of three vampires and a human in the back corner was not difficult, especially when everyone in the room was focused on them. Everyone was curious as to why ‘The Cullen’s’ were here at the diner.

Their speculation was to be expected. None of my family, beside myself, had ever been inside these walls before today. I’d come here a total of six times with Bella, twice before I’d left and four times since we’d all returned.

On our approach, Charlie introduced himself to Renee’s new husband. I had to contain my amusement as I listened to them mentally sizing each other up. It didn’t take my special ability to know what was happening between the two men. I saw a smirk cross Emmett’s face and shot him a warning look. He just shrugged in response, but changed his thoughts to a subject he knew would antagonize me, Bella’s party. Carlisle caught the glare I was sending to my brother and poked Emmett with his elbow. It was enough to get him to back off, although the promise of later was not promising.

We all took our seats and the waitress approached to take our orders. Luckily I had the excuse that Bella and I had stopped for dinner before picking up her mother and stepfather. My other family members, however, were forced to order something, as it would look odd if they didn’t.

Once the server left with everyone’s selections, the original tension began to fill the awkward silence. Of course, Emmett would be the one to break through it with one of his pointed comments. “You ready for the big day tomorrow, Eddie?”

I shot him another glare and then noticed Charlie and Phil shifting in their seats. Relaxing my face a little I tried to covey the intensity of my meaning with only my eyes to my brother. “I am, Emmett. And you know better than to call me that.”

Unfortunately, Emmett’s question was followed by Phil asking if I was nervous about getting married so young. I assured him that I wasn’t. Bella was the only one for me, and that wouldn’t change.

Many other questions followed, mostly from Phil and occasionally from Charlie ranging from where we were going on our honeymoon to our plans for the upcoming school year. As the meal came and went with me and my family being able to distract our human companions enough so that they were able to avoid having to actually eat the fare placed in front of them, everyone relaxed and enjoyed themselves for the most part. Although, after Carlisle caught me glancing at the clock for the eighth time in less than an hour, he silently chided me for my impatience.

I knew I was not to step foot in my house again for at least three hours, but that didn’t help my anxiety. We were far enough away that I couldn’t hear the thoughts of those currently occupying my home. The knowledge that Alice wouldn’t let anything bad happen to my love was of little comfort because I knew Bella, and what was surely happening right now had to be causing her much discomfort. She deserved to be loved and pampered, not made embarrassed by what we were about to do.

Suddenly I felt a wave of calm pass over me and knew Jasper had sensed my growing anxiety. Taking a deep breath, I glanced over at him. He nodded, excepting my thanks. She’s fine, Edward. It’s tradition, and you know Alice is all about keeping this traditional.

But that was exactly what had me worried. I could read minds and had seen some of the stuff that went on at bachelorette parties. Would Alice go so far as to hire a stripper? I didn’t think so. She wouldn’t want to cross me that badly two days before my wedding.

Then there was Renee. Bella’s mother was unique unto herself. There were certain parts, small though they were, of her that were adult and responsible as it should be for her age, but there were other parts too, parts that Bella had spent years trying to deal with while growing up. The ones that could easily make her daughter even more embarrassed than she’d been in the car.

I managed to make it for two hours and twenty-five minutes before Emmett said, “Just call her already, geez! I’m tried of watching you squirm.”

This, of course, caused the whole of our table to chuckle but I didn’t care. He was right, I needed to talk to her, to hear her voice, make sure she was okay with whatever was happening. Better yet, I needed to be with her, but this would have to do for the next thirty-five minutes at least.

Not waiting for any further comment, I got up from my chair and walked out into the warm but overcast evening. I had her number dialed and the phone to my ear before I came to a stop around the corner.

But it wasn’t Bella who answered the phone it was Alice. “No, we’re not ready for you yet. I said three hours at least. Last time I checked you could count, Edward.” I heard some mumbling in the background with what sounded like a growl from whom I supposed was Alice.

Then the most beautiful voice in my world came through the phone. “Edward,” she breathed.

I closed my eyes and drank it up. “Bella,” I whispered right back.

Neither of us said anything for a few seconds as we both enjoyed the reconnection. But finally I knew I needed to speak or Alice would be forcibly trying to remove the phone from Bella’s possession in order to finish the party she’d planned. “How are you?” I asked. “It’s not horrible is it?”

She made a sound that didn’t sound promising. “I’ll tell you later? Alice is already taping her foot for me to get off.”

I sighed. “Okay. I’ll be there in,” I looked at my watch, “half an hour. I’ll be the one to take you and Charlie home so I’ll just meet you up in your room once Charlie’s in bed?”

It was her turn to sigh. “I can’t wait.” She paused. “Okay. Okay. Edward, I’ve got to go. Alice is about ready to rip the phone out of hand.”

“Alright, love. I see shortly. Bella, I love you.”

“I love you too, Edward.”

And then she was gone.

The urge to just run home and check on her was strong, but I managed to force myself back inside the diner instead. Everyone looked up as I re-entered. My family had small smirks on their faces since they’d been able to easily overhear my conversation. Phil and Charlie look slightly concerned.

I took my seat again and said, “She’s okay.”

The men of Bella’s family lightened up at that, but Carlisle seemed to notice something in my tone of voice. He could always read me so well. She’s fine, Edward. You heard her.

Given our current company I couldn’t answer his thoughts out loud, but I nodded my understanding. He was right. She wasn’t in any real danger. This was tradition, and just a technicality to be endured.

Finally, the three hours were over and we were able to leave. Again, I got amused looks from the rest of the group at my eagerness. “I remember when it was like that,” Phil said.

“Yeah,” Charlie confirmed.

Once again Bella’s father and I were alone in my car. There was tension once again, but it was not as it had been. His mind was not on me, nor was mine on him. I was anxious to see my Bella again, and he was nervous about seeing Renee and Phil together for the first time.

It was a welcome distraction to focus on his thoughts during our short drive. Charlie wasn’t exactly jealous, he was more curious. There was a part of him that still loved that flighty woman he’d falling for nearly twenty years ago, but in the end he wanted her to be happy. He liked Phil after spending time with him at the diner, which had eased his mind a little; Charlie realized just how different he and the younger man were.

I pulled up in front of what had been my home for the last four years, and with a sigh from Charlie we both exited and headed for the house. Carlisle and the rest pulled up before we’d gotten very far. To be polite, Charlie stopped to wait. I, however, wasn’t much concerned with manners at the moment. As soon as I opened the front door, I honed in on the heartbeat and scent I knew so well.

When I located her she was in the dining room sitting at the head of the table covered in ribbons and wearing a t-shirt that had BRIDE written across the chest. Her hair was in disarray and on top of her head sat a paper crown declaring her to be the center of attention for the evening.

I vaguely registered the things and people around her, but mostly I just saw her. Jessica was talking, waving her fork full of cake around, but Bella looked only to be half listening. Mostly, my love just looked ready to escape.

And then she saw me.

Our eyes met and her face lit up in a grin that I’d come to know was just for me. I took a step farther into the room, and she was up out of her seat and heading into my arms in four seconds.

When we finally made contact, she crashed into my body a little harder than what I would have liked. As I took in her glorious freesia scent, I asked her if she was alright. She breathed deep and then sighed, “I am now.”

I chuckled. “You are mine now for the rest of the night,” I promised.

Her frail arms squeezed my waist tighter as she raised her head wanting a kiss. “I think I can live with that,” she whispered as her lips met mine.

Our show of affection was met with both sighs and giggles from those surrounding us. Charlie and the rest of our dinner party had come into the house and were there to witness our public display. Even he just shook his head a chuckled.

Bella noticed and I mouthed the word ‘later’. She nodded her head and we both turned to face our family and friends.

Emmett and Jasper had gravitated toward their mates, although they were not being as openly affectionate as Bella and I were. Of course, they’re situation was different than ours. I knew my siblings loved their mates, I read it in their minds each and every day. And although they would die for each other, missed the other while they were parted, it was not the same. When I was not physically in contact with Bella I felt like something wasn’t right. Only her touch made that feeling go away, made me feel whole, complete.

We all stood talking until someone mentioned Renee and Phil having to get back to their hotel. To my surprise, Alice and Jasper volunteered to drive them. It’ll be fine, Edward. Alice assured me. I trusted her, and Jasper had been having less trouble lately.

Once Renee and Phil were out the door, I offered to take Bella and her father home. I hated that I had to take her to her father’s house and leave her, even if for just an hour or so, before I could join her up in her room. One of the many advantages of her as my wife would be never having to leave her at her front door again under the pretense of me going home for the night.

Charlie’s house was dark when we pulled up. He unbuckled his seatbelt as soon as the car came to a stop and opened his door. “I’ll see you inside, Bells.” Then he turned and nodded at me. “Edward.”

We both watched as her father walked up the stairs and disappeared into the house. “What was that?” Bella asked, clearly confused.

She was still in the back seat so instead of answering her question I said, “Charlie is giving us some time to say goodnight. Since it’s raining, would you like to join me in the front seat or would you prefer I join you in the back?” Bella sighed, quickly exiting and re-entering my vehicle, sliding into the front passenger seat beside me.

As soon as she was settled, I reached up and took her face between my hands before lowering my mouth to hers. She responded eagerly, her hands coming up to tangle and pull at my hair. Our lips moved together for several minutes before things began to heat up and I pulled back. It was difficult enough for me to keep thing under control when there was plenty of room and air around us. I didn’t want to push things in the concentrated and constricted atmosphere of my Volvo.

We held each other’s gaze, our foreheads touching, as our breathing came back to normal. Her hand came up to caress the hard skin of my face before she sat back in her seat releasing a breath that filled the car with her amazing fragrance.

I watched as she got a determined, yet questioning, look on her face and knew what was coming. She looked up at me and asked, “Why is Charlie being so nice to you all of a sudden?”

My hand inched closer to her and hers met mine as if there was an unseen force drawing us together. With my thumb, I rubbed a small circular pattern along her wrist as I answered her. “I talked to him. Explained some things.” Her eyebrow quirked up in question, wanting more. “It’s nothing really, Bella. We talked.”

“You…talked,” she repeated, her words dripping with doubt.

I brought our linked hands up to place a soft kiss on her upturned palm before trailing my nose up to her wrist. “It was nothing major, love. I just wanted to reassure Charlie that I would take care of you.” My eyes came up and locked with hers. “Forever.”

She swallowed and her heart picked up its pace. I wasn’t sure if it was my words that caused this reaction or my gentle attention to her flesh. “So…” she paused. “So Charlie is okay with you now?”

“Hmmm,” I answered, my attention once again concentrated on enjoying the floral smell that belonged to my love. My throat was burning, but it was more than welcome. It was only a minor thought pushed aside easily as I focused on her close proximity. The single most thought in my mind was how I was going to keep my promise of making it up to her tonight.

“Must…have been…some talk,” she panted.

This was what I wanted. It always amazed me that I was able to do this to her with such simple touches. Her skin was so soft against my hard nose and mouth, so warm against my cold. “Mmmm. Yes it was,” I breathed against her hand sending tiny goose bumps up her arm.

Then she surprised me by asking, “Is he…watching?”

“No,” I answered, looking up at her from my position with my head bowed over her hand.

“Good,” she said, with more clarity than I thought her capable of at the moment. I got a strong whiff of her scent the second she began to move and then I felt her body rush towards me. My hands came out to protect her from my hardness, but even still I felt her, for the second time tonight, crash into me with more force than I would have preferred.

Her hands grabbed my hair and pulled me to her as she tried to climb into my lap. My brain told me to push her away, but instinct said to pull her closer. I didn’t want to listen to my brain.

The feel of her as I wrapped my arms around her waist and mingled my lips with hers sent my head and teenage hormones into utter bliss. Nothing was better than having Bella in my arms with my mouth on hers, our bodies crashing together in passion and need. I couldn’t wait to be inside her.

That moment of realization provided enough clarity of thought for me to slow things down. Bella moaned in frustration, fully aware of what I was doing. This time it was her who pulled away. “You can’t be at your limit yet,” she almost whined.

I couldn’t help the half smile that curved my lips. She was so beautiful with her lips well kissed and her breath coming faster than it normally should, all because of me. “No, love,” I assured her. “I just thought maybe my car was not the best place for what we were doing.”

“Oh,” she said with a little surprise in her voice. Then she looked around and blushed. Bella was poised somewhere in between straddling the center console of my Volvo and sitting in my lap. This, was new.

With amazing speed and a little of Bella’s tale tell clumsiness, she found her own seat again. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

I reached out and felt the heat of her blush through my palm as I traced it down her cheek. “No need to apologize. I was rather enjoying myself.”

Bella looked up at me as her teeth encompassed her lower lip. Then she glanced down at my lap. A small growl escaped me knowing what she was looking for and what she’d find. Her head turned and her lips grazed the cold hand still resting at her face. The feel of teeth lightly scrapping against my marble skin registered, followed by the softness of her tongue.

I stopped breathing. My muscles locked into place as I fought the urges flowing through me at that exact moment, urges that would end in a much more primal way than I wanted for Bella. “You need to go inside,” I said with the air I had left.

And then she smirked at me, opened her door, and said, “Don’t be late.”

I remained unmovable until she crossed the threshold of her home. That woman would be the death of me.

When I felt I had control again, I sped toward my home and parked the Volvo in its usual spot. Charlie wouldn’t be going to bed for at least another hour so I went inside to find our home back in its normal state of organization. All the decorations had been put away. The food and drink were disposed of. It was as if the party had never existed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

Emmett and Jasper’s thoughts screamed almost in unison to get my attention. I turned and saw both my brothers bounding down the steps. “So little brother, Bella had her night tonight are you ready for your bachelor party tomorrow?”

My bear of a brother raised both his eyebrows suggestively, and I rolled my eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about Emmett.” There was absolutely no way I was letting them drag me through some crazy ritual. The only reason I’d allowed tonight to happen for Bella was because it was tradition, and one more human experience for her in the short time she had left.

Just as I was about to voice my objection to whatever they had planned, Carlisle walked into the room with his arm around Esme. “Don’t even think about trying to get out of this, son. It’s tradition to have a guys hunting trip the night before the wedding, and you are not missing out on it.”

A hunting trip. That would mean being away from Bella tomorrow night. As if reading my thoughts, Jasper said, “You really think Alice would let you stay with Bella tomorrow night? It’s the night before your wedding, man. Tradition says the bride and groom can’t see each other until the ceremony.”

I groaned. He was right. Alice would be very insistent that my love and I not see one another after midnight. She was going overboard with the tradition. “Fine,” I said, knowing I wouldn’t be able to get out of it.

Emmett came up and slapped me hard on the shoulder. “Just think, a whole night for us to give you pointers.”

“Emmett,” Carlisle warned.

“Oh come on! I’ve been waiting over seventy years for this,” he complained.

My father just gave him a stern look, which caused Emmett to sulk. I knew my brother though. Vocal or not, he’d get his teasing in somehow. Sometimes my mind reading was most definitely a disadvantage.

The time downstairs with my family took a little more time than I’d anticipated and it was almost eleven before I made it back to Bella’s.

As I ran across the lawn, I could see that only the lamp beside her bed remained lit. Hearing movement inside, I knew she was awake, waiting on me. I smiled, knowing it would only be seconds before I would see her again.

Slipping through the window, I landed gracefully onto the floor without a sound. It wasn’t until I moved to stand up that Bella noticed me. She’d been reading, as usual. Putting her book to the side, she moved over to allow me room next to her in her bed. Without her having to ask, I removed my shirt and shoes before getting in beside her.

I heard her heart pick up speed as I got into bed beside her. And before she could react further, I reached out and brought her to sit on my lap facing me. Her knees were on either side of my hips, and her hands found purchase on my shoulders to balance herself.

She was off balance, and I wanted to keep her that way. I had ever intention to keep my promise of making it up to her tonight.

My mouth captured hers in a sure kiss as my hands brought her body closer to mine. I tried to keep fabric in between us wherever possible so she wouldn’t get chilled, but the heat coming from my Bella’s body told me that was not likely.

Soon her fingers left their perch on my shoulders and found their way into my hair. We kissed and I allowed all the passion I felt for her to come through, only breaking periodically for her to get a solid breath. During those times, I concentrated my efforts on her cheeks and jaw.

My hands explored her back and up into her hair fluffing it and sending her scent wafting around us. The burn began to build hotter, but I ignored it. Tonight was for her.

One of Bella’s hands left its place in my hair and moved slowly down my neck, over my collarbone, to draw small circles on my chest. I pulled her closer, crushing my mouth harder against hers.

A whine escaped her lips but it didn’t appear to be a negative response, so I continued my efforts. I could feel the heat of her radiating through the thin fabric of our clothes. The smell of her arousal was causing my head to spin. Bella pressed hard against my own aching need for her and I gasped causing me to have to pull my mouth away from her.

My reaction did not go unnoticed by her and she became motionless. “Edward?” Her voice was laced with concern.

I pulled her forehead back to rest against mine. “I’m okay, love,” I answered through my ragged breathing. Venom was freely flowing down my throat now as her scent consumed me. My fingers flexed against where they rested on her hip. She remained where she was as both our breathing returned to normal and the poison slowed its decent.

Gradually I felt her begin to get up, but I held her still. I didn’t want her to leave her place on top of me. She realized what I wanted and stopped pulling away. The evidence of her proximity and our recent activities was still evident, but she didn’t seem to mind. I had to bite back a groan as she pressed against me once again, this time unintentionally. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

I wrapped my hand around the back of her neck and brought my lips to hers once again, this time for a chaste kiss. “Don’t apologize, Bella.”

We sat wrapped in each other’s arms for several minutes before my gaze fell on the book she’d set on her nightstand. I could not be reading the title correctly. Reaching out my right arm, I picked up the book and turned it so that I could read the cover.

How to please your man in the bedroom

My eyes flashed to Bella and her face was flushed with obvious embarrassment. She reached to take it from my hands, but I moved it out of her reach. “What…”

Her hands came up to cover her face. “Renee,” she groaned.

Then realization came. I knew Bella had received gifts tonight at the party. The knowledge that my love’s mother had bestowed this particular gift upon my fiancée left me momentarily speechless.

I had to ask, however, “And you were reading it? When I came in?” She nodded. “Why?”

“Why?” she asked, her voice dripping with some emotion I didn’t quite understand. “I want to make you happy. Why wouldn’t I read it?”

Suddenly I was disgusted with my future mother-in-law. My love had spent her childhood taking care of her mother instead of the other way around. Although I didn’t like that fact, I overlooked it because it was her mother, and Bella loved her. But this…this was unacceptable.

I felt the book give, the hard cover cracking under the pressure of my fingers. Bella gasped and reached out. “Edward. Edward, stop!”

Slowly I peeled my fingers away. My fingerprints could still be seen and would leave a lasting impression unless I did additional damage to obscure them. At the moment, all I wanted to do was destroy the offending material. I settled for tossing it to the other side of the room and closing my eyes. I didn’t want to see it.

I was still trying to contain my rage when I felt Bella’s fingers began to softly caress my face. With her gentle touch, my temper was soothed and I let my head fall back against the headboard. “I’m sorry. Do you wish me to leave?”

Her hands paused for a second before continuing. “No. No, of course I don’t. What’s wrong with the book though?”

My eyes opened to look at her. “Bella, you’re mother gave you a book to tell you how to…please me,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Yes,” she said clearly confused.

I sighed. “It implies that you don’t already know how.”

She cocked her head to the side as if considering, then said, “But I don’t.”

Leaning up, it was my turn to cup her face. “Every time you touch me, you please me. Each kiss, each caress drives me mad with want of you, Bella. I can barely contain my need for you just sitting here with you on my lap. How can you think you would possibly be in need of some book to tell you what you already know?”

I felt her heart skip a few beats before she flew into my arms. Her lips gazed my neck and she whispered, “I love you, Edward. I just want to be the perfect wife for you.”

My arms wrapped around her back and ran a smooth pattern up and down her back. “There is no way you could not be, love.”

We stayed locked together as we listened to Charlie come upstairs and get ready for bed. A short time later I encouraged a reluctant Bella to get beneath the covers herself. I knew she had to be chilled, and it was getting late.

Rolling onto her side, I tucked the blankets around her and pulled her back up against me. Burring my face in her hair, I placed a kiss to the back of her neck. “Go to sleep, my Bella. I’ll be here when you wake.”

It had been a long day, and within minutes she was asleep.

~

My night was filled with the reminder that Bella and I had never discussed her evening. I had let my temper over her mother’s gift get the better of me. It was times like this when I was immensely grateful for her love. Even in my more irrational moments her feelings for me never wavered.

Slowly the first streaks of dawn began to fill the sky. I listened as Charlie began moving about the house. He was musing over the upcoming day.

His change in attitude towards me was so abrupt that it took some time to fully comprehend, even for someone of my experience and talent. Most humans were not as firm in their thoughts even when their actions presented a different picture. Charlie, however, had completely changed the direction of his thoughts in regards to me. He was actually looking forward to the same wedding he’d spent the last months dreading.

I watched the soft light play against her features and wondered if this was the same with my Bella. She was very much like her father in many ways, and I thought this might be one of those similarities. It had been difficult to change Charlie’s perception of me in Bella’s future, but now that I had it was as if his previous reservations had completely disappeared.

Remembering back to the beginnings of our relationship, I remembered her resolve. Her curiosity to solve the mystery of what I was had been single minded. Her determination that ‘it didn’t matter’ after coming to the truth was even more so. I admired her and envied her in her stubborn resoluteness. She kept me grounded like no one else and I couldn’t wait to spend eternity with her at my side.

Charlie eventually left to go pick up something from the station he’d forgotten. His mind hadn’t settled on it for long enough for me to get a clear picture from his still murky thoughts.

The house was quiet after he left, all except for the woman lying beside me. She would shift every now and then, and thinking her uncomfortable with either my temperature or my solidity, I would put some space between us. That didn’t work, however, as she would then start to move about more and her brow would wrinkle in what appeared to be distaste. After a half dozen of these attempts on my part to make her more comfortable and receiving this response from her, I resigned myself to just mold to whatever position she chose.

It wasn’t too far into the morning when she fully woke and instinctively rolled toward me. Bella didn’t say anything at first, but instead found the space just above my shoulder and burrowed into it as if trying to find something she’d lost.

My arms stayed wrapped around her loosely until her lips began pressing against my skin causing a shiver to ripple through me. I sucked in a harsh breath full of pure Bella when her tongue began replacing her lips.

Pulling her closer to me, I held on, riding out all the sensations that only she could cause within me. It was only Bella that made my throat burn this way, only she who could bring the monster that I was so close to the surface. But it was also only Bella who could make me feel so human, so utterly unlike the thing that I was.

”Morning,” she murmured against my flesh.

I sucked in another quick unneeded breath as her fingers joined her mouth’s assault by traveling down across the expanse of my chest to tease the skin of my stomach. “Bella…”

It was all I could say. After spending the entire night unable to do more than hold her, she was pushing my control. “Yes, Edward?” she answered as she slipped one finger into the waistband of my jeans to tease me.

All thought of restraint left my mind as a low growl rumbled in my chest and I flipped us over so that I was now hovering above her. Her eyes widened in surprise, but I saw the contradiction in her eyes. She knew exactly what she was doing to me.

I decided turn about was only fair. Leaning in, I pressed my cold lips to hers only briefly, teasing her. A little whine left her lips as I pulled away and began peppering kissing along her jaw and down her neck. When I reached the point just below her ear, she arched her back pressing her breasts into my chest.

The desire to taste her was overwhelmingly strong. Nothing else had the same flavor. I’d tasted her blood as it had been mixed with the elixir of fear, but much preferred the aroma of her like this. When she was aroused, wanting me, her flesh held a sweetness to it. Her naturally floral scent was mixed with something even more intoxicating and uniquely her, and it was all amazingly for me.

Leaning all my weight on my left hand, I used my right to roam down her side. It was not by accident that my fingers grazed the side of her breast. There was no denying my craving to be able to fully touch her as I wanted. We’d be traveling for almost a full twenty-four hours after our wedding, and then… Then there would be no barriers, no hidden secrets.

My daydreams only fueled my desires, and I continued my teasing. She was moving restlessly beneath me now. Her chest was moving up and down rapidly with each breath she took. Her hands were tugging roughly at my hair somewhere between holding me in place and pulling me to wherever she wanted my mouth next, currently it was hovering right where her collarbones came together on her chest. I wanted more than anything to go lower, but I’d waited over a hundred years to make her mine in every way possible. I could wait another two days.

Although I didn’t want to, I knew I must be the one to pull away. Our time was limited, and Charlie would be back soon. She whined in protest as I put space between us and I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Bella was less than pleased with my amusement. Her lower lip came out in a small pout that was utterly adorable. “Charlie will be back soon, love,” I said trying to sooth her. “He’ll be expecting you to be making an appearance this morning.”

She seemed to resign herself to the fact that our practice time was over, but leaned in to place a brief kiss on my lips as she got out of bed and headed over to her closet. I watched her move; her hips were utterly entrancing.

Once her clothing was gathered in her arms, my love excused herself and made her way into the bathroom to change and have a few human moments. While she was gone, I walked to the corner where I’d thrown the book last night. I was still not happy about it, but now that I’d had time to temper my initial reaction I realized it wasn’t much different than what Emmett had done to me.

It felt odd to think of my brother and my soon to be mother-in-law having the same thought processes, but in this case I had to assume that was in fact the case. Renee seemed to have no issue with embarrassing Bella, but I had to believe her intentions were good. She wanted to help us, and this was a way in which she felt she could.

The sound of the bathroom door opening made me move back to Bella’s bed to wait on her. I strategically placed my hands on the cover and tried to cover the indentations my fingers had made. It wasn’t perfect, but short of completely destroying the book it was the best it was going to be.

Bella came in wearing my favorite blue shirt and the same tan skirt she’d worn when meeting my family last year. Her hair fell around her shoulders, bouncing slightly as she walked towards me.

Stopping directly in front of where I was sitting on the edge of her bed, she placed her arms gently around my neck looking down at me. Her eyes glanced over at the book I’d just placed on her nightstand and then back at me. “Do you think the book learned its lesson?”

A crooked smile broke out on my face at her obvious attempt at humor. “Yes,” I said. And then I added in a slightly more serious tone, “I am sorry about that. I over reacted, and I shouldn’t have.”

She nodded. “I know,” Then she smiled. “But I love you anyway.”

I brought my arms up to pull her into my lap. “That is a very good thing, Miss Swan.”

With soft reverence I placed a kiss on her nose as she shifted to find a comfortable position. “Will you tell me about it? The party?”

Bella sighed, but nodded. “It wasn’t too bad,” she said reluctantly. “Most of it.”

“I liked the shirt,” I commented, reminded of the t-shirt she’d been wearing last night when I’d found her sitting at the kitchen table. It may have been silly, but I was in favor of anything that screamed to the world that she was mine.

She groaned. “Alice. She insisted.”

A faint blush rose on her cheeks, and I couldn’t resist pressing my lips to her hair. “What else,” I whispered, breathing in her scent.

Slowly she told me of games they’d played and the presents she’d received. The more she told me, the more embarrassed she got. Although I loved the beautiful flush that covered her skin, I couldn’t help but hold her closer as I sensed her discomfort.

Bella handled it well, all things considered. I’m not sure how I would have faired had I had to sit through a race to put condoms on cucumbers. Bella told me that she’d gotten some outfits, but when I’d asked if I could see them she’d refused. “Love, if they are meant for us then why am I not able to see them?”

She hid her face in my shoulder. “Because, Edward, they’re just… I can’t even imagine wearing them.”

My curiosity was peaked. I had a feeling it was lingerie, and given some of the other things we’d discussed over the last few weeks I couldn’t imagine it would be causing her this much embarrassment. “If you won’t show me, can you tell me?” She shook her head. “Please?”

I felt movement, but she remained in place against my hard shoulder for several minutes. Then in a whisper said, “A maid and nurse outfit.”

For a moment I sat trying to comprehend what she’d just said. Then it hit me. I remembered several years ago Emmett had mentioned Rose dressing up in a maid outfit for him. Given that I had no wish to know the details of their sex life at the time, once I’d realized the direction of the conversation, I’d tuned him out. Now, I wish I’d paid more attention.

Leaning back a little, I coaxed her to look at me. “Love, just because it was a gift does not mean you have to wear it if it makes you feel uncomfortable.”

“Thank you. I just…”

Tilting my head to the side I asked, “What?”

She bit her lower lip, and I could see her mind working. Finally she said, “I just didn’t know if you’d like that sort of thing.”

Her eyes lowered as soon as the words left her mouth. I smiled at her and brought her face to mine for a kiss. Honestly I’d never thought of her ‘dressing up’ for me. It was an intriguing thought I would need to think about further. Maybe even ask my brothers, even though that thought made me cringe.

Charlie’s mind begins to break into my thoughts. “Your father is on his way home, love. I need to leave.” She nodded reluctantly and we both stood. Bella walked me over to her window, and I placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll be back in about a hour,” I said, before releasing her and jumping out the window.

Running home, my mind was flying through everything Bella had told me about last night. I was glad she’d eventually shared those things with me, but I had thought my brothers were over the top when it came to sexual conversations. Bella’s experience last night confirmed for me that those kinds of conversations were not limited to the male of the species, human or vampire.

Coming upon my home, I made my way inside and found Esme busy making preparations for the rehearsal dinner this evening. Sliding up behind her, I placed a kiss on her cheek. “Morning, mom.”

She smiled over her shoulder at me. “Good morning, Edward. How is Bella this morning?”

Her face showed no sign of distress, but her mind betrayed her. “She’d fine, Esme. A little embarrassed by last night, but…”

“I’m sorry about that. I honestly didn’t know what all they were planning until it was too late. You know Alice, she wanted it to be as traditional as possible.”

“I know.”

Then her thoughts changed focus. “Only eighteen more hours as a free man. How does it feel?”

A huge smile split my face, “I love it.”

Her answering smile was filled with the love and happiness flowing through her mind. Reaching out to me, she pulled me in for a hug. “I am so happy for you, son. Bella is absolutely perfect for you.”

I hugged her back. “She is perfect,” I said with all the reverence I felt.

We heard Rose and Alice before they entered the room. Esme went back to her preparations, while I turned to greet my sisters. “Good morning, Edward,” Alice said as she glided into the room followed by Rose.

Still not sure how I felt about last night in relation to Alice, I gave her a curt, “Alice.”

She stopped in her tracks and looked at me. “Nothing happened last night that either didn’t need to, or that wouldn’t have happened in a much more embarrassing situation for Bella otherwise.”

“How do you figure that, Alice. You raced how fast you could put condoms on a cucumber!”

Rose snickered, which brought my attention to her. “And what part did you play in last night, Rose? Some of those games sounded like Emmett had a hand in them.”

Narrowing her eyes at me, she took a step forward. Alice stepped in between us, however, and said, “It was all me, Edward. Well me and Renee anyway.”

“Renee?”

“Yeah,” she shrugged. “In fact, you should be thanking me. You’re future mother-in-law wanted to play a version of pin the tail on the donkey she’d found on-line.” Her mind drifted to the vision she’d gotten when Renee had came up with the idea. The game had made the party come abruptly to an end as Bella ran up to my room and locked herself inside.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll give you that. But the other stuff?”

She shrugged again. “It’s a wedding, Edward. Deal with it.”

“Fine,” I said, still not happy. Turning, I made my way up to my room to change.

Without further incident, I made it back to Bella’s house. Charlie was in the living room watching television, while my love was in the kitchen on the phone.

I knocked on the door, and it was Charlie that answered. “Edward,” he smiled. Then he motioned over his shoulder. “She’d in the kitchen.”

“Thanks,” I said and headed into the house and toward her voice.

Bella saw me as soon as I walked into the room. Her face lit up with a huge smile and she walked over to me, taking my hand. “Yeah, mom. Edward just got here so we’ll be there to pick you up soon.”

A few minutes later, she was off the phone and fully in my arms. There were no words, just feeling.

About a half and hour later, we were on our way to Port Angeles to pick up her mother and Phil. I really wasn’t sure what to say to Renee. She seemed to have a one-track mind, and was obsessed with our sex life.

My question was answered twenty minutes later as we walked into the hotel where they were staying and found them waiting for us in the lobby. Both were in a good mood and excited about the rest of the weekend, but once again Renee was evaluating every move and interaction between Bella and me.

I asked if they were hungry as we got into the car, this time with Bella in the front seat beside me. They assured me they’d both recently eaten so I headed for the highway and Forks.

As soon as I set into a slow, but steady, speed of eighty miles per hour Renee seemed to get her bearings and began her questioning. If I’d thought last night was bad, I’d been mistaken. “Bella, did you show Edward everything you got last night at your party?”

“No, mom,” my love answered sinking down a little in her seat.

I’d already been holding her hand, but I tightened my grip knowing what was coming. “Well why not? He is going to be your husband after all. I mean I know you play the innocent Bella, but I’m not stupid. I know what young couples do when they’re alone.” She paused for just a moment before adding, “Even when they say they don’t.”

Bella’s face was on fire. The air in the car was thick with her scent and my throat was burning, but all I wanted to do was pull her into my arms.

My love covered her face with her free hand, and her mother misinterpreted her action. “Oh don’t be embarrassed about it, Bella. You’re in love! It’s only natural to do those things.” Then her face turned into a pout. “I just don’t understand why you’re being so secretive about it. I mean is it your father?” She considered this and figured that must be it. “I’ll talk to him. You’re a grown woman and you have needs just like the rest of us.”

“Mom, please,” Bella begged. “It’s not dad.”

“Well what then? I mean… Well…surely Edward isn’t THAT bad in the bedroom.”

Instantly, all the color left Bella’s face and I stopped breathing. “Stop the car,” Bella said through clenched teeth. I did as she asked, although I had no idea what she was going to do.

As soon as Volvo was placed in park, she was out the door with Renee following her. Renee was about to speak, but Bella was faster. My love rounded on her mother with a fierce determination I’d only seen a handful of times. It was the look she got when she was defending me, protecting me. “From this point forward, my sex life is off limits. It is no longer a topic for discussion.”

“Bella what are you talking about? Of course we’ll talk about your sex life.”

“No,” Bella said. “We won’t. I’ve told you more than once that Edward and I are waiting. I don’t know why you don’t believe me, but obviously you think I would lie to you.” Renee started to speak again, but Bella once again cut her off. “No. You will let me speak. What Edward and I do or don’t do together is between us and only us. We may be new at this, but we’ll figure it out. Without your help.”

Renee was hurt by her words, but I understood why Bella felt the need to be so harsh to her mother. I agreed with every word she’d said. For some reason, everyone seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of interest in the intimate part of our relationship. In some ways, I could understand my families interest given they knew the entire story and the gravity of what we were going to attempt. Everyone else’s preoccupation made no sense to me.

Reluctantly, Bella’s mother agreed to keep her comments to herself, and apologized. The remainder of the car ride was outwardly silent. Inwardly, Renee was still trying to understand her daughter’s reaction.

The two of them were so different. Renee talked openly about everything. She rarely, if ever, had a filter on her thoughts. It was hard for her to fathom Bella not wanting to talk, to share, which is why she’d thought that I must be incompetent or lacking in some way. It was the only logical reason she could come up with.

We stopped for a short time at Charlie’s house, before heading over to mine. Alice quickly took charge when we walked into the house, and ushered Renee and Phil out to the back yard so she could show them the basic set up for tomorrow. Bella wants to talk to you, Edward.

My sister’s thoughts followed her as she walked out the back doors of our home. I turned to the woman at my side and asked, “Would you like to go up to my room for a few minutes?” She nodded, and we headed up the stairs at a human pace.

As we walked into my room, she turned to me. “I’m so sorry, Edward. I had no idea she was going to do that.”

I took her into my arms and placed a kiss on her hair. “I know, love. And there is no need for you to apologize.”

“Yes, I do,” she said, wrapping her arms around my waist. “I can’t believe she thought there was something wrong with you.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “There is something wrong with me.” She looked up at me and I lifted my eyebrow willing her to argue with me.

“That isn’t something wrong with you, it’s what you are.”

Not wanting to argue with her, I just pressed her back against my chest. “Twenty-six hours and forty-two minutes from now, you’ll be walking down the staircase in your wedding gown.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” she asked, but I could hear a bit of humor in her voice.

“It makes me feel better,” I answered instead.

She didn’t comment. Eventually, we made our way back downstairs and found Renee and Phil in the living room with my two brother and sisters. They were tense, being in the same room with four vampires, even though my siblings were trying to act as human has possible. Both visibly relaxed when they saw Bella.

We spent the next three hours watching television and talking.

Just before six, Charlie, along with Reverend Webber arrived. We all moved out into the area Alice had declared was perfect for the ceremony.

After a few instructions from the minister, Alice, Charlie, and Bella disappeared up the stairs while Rose took a seat behind the piano. I stood between Reverend Webber and Carlisle, and waited.

Rose began playing and soon Alice appeared. She was graceful as she floated down the aisle.

When she took her place opposite Carlisle, Rose began playing the first few stings of the wedding march and I felt my excitement begin. I could hear her and Charlie coming down the steps before I saw them.

They rounded the corner and my eyes locked with hers. In less than twenty-four hours, a day, she would be my wife. A smile broke out on my face. It wasn’t until I felt Carlisle nudge me that I realized my teeth were showing.

Quickly adjusting my face, I watched her continue to walk towards me. Reverend Webber had Rose stop the music after Bella had walked half way, and explained that tomorrow she, Alice, and Charlie would want to walk a little slower. All parties nodded and then she was beside me.

I listened half heartedly as the minister went through the steps of the ceremony. Over the last fifty years, I’d attended over a dozen wedding ceremonies. I didn’t need to know the technicalities. All I needed was to know that in the end the woman standing at my side would be bound to me in every legal way. She would truly be mine.

After running through everything a second time, we all retired to the dining room for dinner. Bella sat beside me, and in truth we were in our own little world. While she ate, we held hands and spoke softly. Periodically, I would find a reason to kiss her whether it would be on her hand, or forehead, or lips.

All I wanted was for the next hours to go by quickly so that I could be alone with the beautiful creature at my side. I squeezed her hand, and she looked up at me. Her eyes were full of emotion, filled with the love she had for only me.